Sunday, September 26, 2010

Chili Rellenos - The Ultimate Cheesy Comfort Food!

Chili Rellenos

So, this is one if the ultimate "comfort foods" in my book. Although it has been well over a decade since I've last eaten the stuff...and I couldn't even tell you why that is. So imagine my pleasure when a relative suggested I make it for BellinieBits?? I was happy to comply with the request, and being that it was also my first attempt at making it, it was a learning experience I got to share with you! I love to try new things just for those who watch, so that you know that NOTHING is a cause for fear. Everything is, and can be, easier than it looks! So, I'd like to offer a HUGE thank you to Charles Wetlaufer for sending me the recipe. Here it is:

Chili Rellenos Casserole
28 oz can green chilis, whole or diced
16 oz Colby jack cheese
8 oz pepper jack cheese
8 oz mozzarella cheese
1 TBSP olive oil (or vegetable oil if you don't have any)
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 TBSP jarred minced garlic)
½ large onion, diced
4 eggs
1 cup flour
1 1/3 cups milk
½ tsp salt (optional)
2 ½ cups shredded chicken or beef (optional...use if making a main dish)

Make sure you preheat your oven to 400 degrees before you're ready to bake this. Grease a 9 x 13" casserole dish too.

In a large bowl, combine all the cheeses and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

In a medium sauté pan, heat the olive oil on medium high, and sauté the onion and garlic just until tender and translucent. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, add flour, salt, eggs, and milk. Whisk until smooth and resembles runny pancake batter. Set this aside also.

Drain the chili's and cut into strips or dice (whichever is your preference) if they are whole. Make sure you also remove the skin (while they are still whole) if they haven't been removed already. Mix the chilis with the sautéed onion and garlic. Layer about 1/3 of the chili mixture in the bottom of the casserole dish. Add a layer of cheese in top of that. If you are adding shredded meat, add a layer now. Then start over again with the chili mixture, cheese, meat, so on, until everything has been used. Now you can evenly pour the batter over the entire dish, trying to make sure you evenly distribute everything. If you want to prevent over browning, cover dish with a piece of foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Then drop the temperature to 350 degrees, and bake for another hour. At this point, I took the casserole out of the oven to cool, but in Charles' recipe, he indicated you could turn the oven off and let it stay in for another half of an hour and it will be fluffy and settle a bit. It will resemble a quiche. Add whatever toppings suit you (I like sour cream and diced tomatoes, but I'll bet avocado would be nice too) and ENJOY!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Carrot & Apple Cupcakes!

This episode and recipe comes out of the blue today because my friend, Shalon Whitgob, is throwing herself a “pre-surgery” cupcake party! And since she is too far away for me to actually participate, I am honoring her with this extra special episode of BellinieBits! And really, who doesn’t just love a cute little cupcake to indulge in every now and then? Now my dilemma with the whole cupcake thing is this…what constitutes a cupcake as opposed to a muffin? They are shaped the same, taste the same, minus frosting and decorations…so is that the only difference? Frosting? Well, not knowing the proper answer to this question of mine, I decided to make one of my favorite muffin recipes and turn it into a cupcake. So here you go – I hope my ignorance on this subject doesn’t offend anyone!


Wet ingredients –
1 grated apple, skin and all
2 grated carrots, approximately 2 cups
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup molasses
½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
3 eggs

~~~Mix all the wet ingredients well in a medium bowl, then add:

Dry ingredients –
1 ¼ cups flour
¾ cup old fashioned oats
¼ cup ground flax (optional)
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

~~~Mix until well incorporated. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease 12 muffin tins, or use cupcake liners. Using 1/3 cup measure, evenly distribute the batter to each of the 12 muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before frosting.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 oz cream cheese
2 oz butter (1/2 stick)
¾ pound powdered sugar
½ tsp maple extract
¼ tsp salt
Milk to thin, if needed

~~~Cream together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add salt. Blend in about 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time. After 3rd cup has been added, add maple extract and mix well. Add more sugar if you need to stiffen the frosting more. If frosting is too thick, add 1 tsp of milk at a time until it reaches proper consistency. Frost each cupcake with about 1 Tablespoon of the icing.

Candied Carrots:
In a medium sauce pan, bring to boil 1 cup of water and 2 cups of sugar. Add 2 cups of grated carrots to syrup mixture, and then let simmer for 1 hour. Drain carrots with a fine sieve, and then spread out on a cookie sheet lined with non-stick foil. Set oven to 275 degrees, and let dry for a few hours, until hardened. Crumble to the size you want for sprinkling over cupcakes.

And do me an extra special favor too, and go visit Shalon's page and take a peek at her journey, and learn why she is such a special lady, and why she's imprinted on my heart forever:'s the new glue!

You are now ready to share this treat and ENJOY!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fruit Salad with Whiskey Sauce and French Toast Croutons

Fruit Salad with Whiskey Dressing and French Toast Croutons

I was asked by my friend Jennifer Doman to make something different with peaches, since they are in season right now. Now, I could have gone the traditional route, and made a pie, tart, or cobbler…but I decided to do something else fairly traditional, yet give it my own “BellinieBits” twist! So here you go Jennifer, and everyone else – I certainly hope you’ll try this recipe! Easy, fresh, and wickedly delicious!

Fruit Salad:
2 or 3 large ripe peaches, thinly sliced
1 or 2 bananas, sliced
1 or 2 cups fresh raspberries
~~~Now, you can certainly use any other fruit with this salad, I chose the above because I love them all individually and also because I liked the variety of color. Blueberries, pears, grapefruit, kiwi, grapes, strawberries, and plums…all would work as well. Heck, you might even throw in some apples and oranges if you like too! Just use what YOU like!

Whiskey Sauce:
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
2 TBSP water
¼ - ½ cup whiskey (use as more if you like a stronger flavor)
~~~Melt butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add sugar, egg yolks, and water. Stir to combine, and then cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves and mixture is bubbly. Remove from heat, and add whiskey. Mix well, and then cool before using.  You can store the sauce in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. This sauce can be thinned out in the microwave for about 30 seconds if you’ve refrigerated it. It goes wonderfully over a variety of dishes like French toast, ice cream, pies, cheesecakes, fruit crisp, cobblers…once you taste it, you’ll want to use it on everything!

French Toast Croutons:
Perfect use for left over French toast! But here’s how I made it, if you’re wondering-
2 eggs
½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
Dash salt
1 tsp cinnamon
6 pieces of bread
~~~Mix first six ingredients together in a small bowl. Dip bread one slice at a time into egg mixture, and make sure both sides soak in a little of the mix. Cook until browned on a greased skillet, then flip and brown on the other side. After all pieces are browned, cut into small crouton sized squares. Lay pieces on cookie sheet in a single layer and let dry out in a 250 degree oven until crunchy - about 1 or 2 hours, but check and stir every 20 minutes or so, as all ovens cook slightly differently.

Now it’s time to assemble the salad! In a large bowl, add all sliced fruit, and any other berries you are using. Spoon about ½ cup of the whiskey sauce over fruit and gently mix to coat all fruit evenly. Dish up servings into individual bowls and top with French toast croutons. Drizzle more whiskey sauce over each serving if desired. And by all means….ENJOY!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Island Sandwich

Island Sandwich (for Kami!)
Serves 8

First off, I want to thank those who put in requests...I am only too happy to give ideas on meals! So today, I took my friend Kami Sussman's suggestion to make a low fat and high fiber meal, which was both sweet and savory. I decided to take two different recipes that I have been using for a long time and marry them together in one sinful sandwich! The result is my own twist on a traditional "pulled pork BBQ sandwich", and might I add...I think it certainly holds its own! So here you go...the recipe for the "Island Sandwich" and all its components...

Tropical Whiskey Chicken:
In a 3 Qt. pan, add:
2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup pineapple juice
½ cup whiskey
(optional...add 1 TBSP minced garlic, and 1 tsp chili powder for extra flavor)
2 -- 2 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken (I used a blend of thighs and breast for best flavor)
~~~Add all ingredients to the pan, and then bring to boil. Once bubbling, let simmer for about 45 minutes. Remove from heat when meat is tender, and then shred with two forks. Continue to let remaining sauce reduce over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, or until is a syrupy consistency. Drizzle reduced sauce over chicken if extra flavor is desired.

Tropical Cole Slaw:
1 cup low fat mayonnaise
¾ cup pineapple juice
¼ cup fat free half and half
1 pkg. Ranch Dressing mix
12 oz bottle honey mustard
½ cup bacon pieces (6 sliced, cooked and diced if doing from scratch)
16 oz bag shredded cabbage mix
~~~Mix first 5 ingredients together until smooth for dressing. Mix 1/3 cup of dressing with the bacon and cabbage. Let coleslaw sit in refrigerator for 1 hour for best flavor. I personally use this dressing on salads and coleslaw, so the extra works well for me.

1 package Orowheat Sandwich Thins
8 pineapple rings

Toast sandwich thins and grill pineapple slices if desired. Assemble sandwiches with a generous helping of chicken, 1 pineapple slice, and about 1/3 cup coleslaw mix. Serve immediately and ENJOY!